What another great day the Lord has blessed us with. I read an article this week that spoke on not counting our blessings and how we sometimes let the hectic journey called life get in the way of those special moments that create some wonderful memories.
Ephesians 5:20 says this “giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we think about those words can we say that we always give thanks? This week of course is the celebration of Christmas day. It is a time that means something different to people all around the world. To some it is nothing but another day, to others it is a time of gifts and family, to some it is a time of joy while for some it is a time of great depression. Many celebrate the birth of Christ while others enjoy it as a day off from work. Regardless of why the day is celebrated, all that surrounds the time before the day actually happens often times takes away from the specialness of the moments that can and often do happen during this wonderful time of year.
What is my point? The smiles on the faces of little ones, the true heartfelt thanks from one who has been blessed with a special gift, the warm hugs from family or friends that have not been seen in a while, these are the things that count, these are the moments we should hang on to. In other words, count the blessings and thank the Lord for them. It is so easy to get caught in the trap of hustle and bustle this time of year. Time seems to escape us and we find ourselves scurrying around all over the place at 8pm on Christmas eve because we have not had time to finish shopping and at the end of the day it has been way more frustrating than it ever should have been and if we are honest it is just not fun anymore.
Special moments should not be clouded over by life. We allow it to happen, but it simply is not the way it should be. God has blessed each one of us with something special. It very well may be something different for each person, but either way we each have something special to hold on to. Do not let the world steal your joy this Christmas, it is yours hang on to it. It is not about the gift, it is not about the perfect meal or whether you get to travel or not, it is about thanking Him for the gift of another day and absolutely thanking Him for the gift of Jesus.
Last week the Message on the Manger spoke to my heart because when we realize that indeed He came in such a way, that He came at all, is simply awesome. To know that we are loved that much, it should overwhelm us to realize that the creator of the universe thinks about us and gives us the chance to start over. I see so much hurt in the lives of so many and if they would only hear the Message that has been sent for them, if they would only receive the gift that was given to them, it would change their lives forever. It is hard to understand why so many still say no, but then again we look back to that night and just as the inn was too full to receive Him, it remains too full today to receive Him.
Life is an incredible journey. There are certainly times that are seemingly too much to handle and other times that are a great joy. It is a mixture indeed, but it is also what we make of it. I have spoken a lot on the current scene as it pertains to the chaos of the world and the political races that are being laid out before us. I simply encourage everyone to pray earnestly as to how the Lord leads you in those matters. He has an answer and will guide your hearts and minds as to how He would have you participate in such things. The enemy is having a heyday right now and confusion is at what might be a height that few have ever seen. To put is very simple: it is a mess.
This terror stuff is demonic, those who support it are demonic and those who refuse to take a stand against it and deal with it are incompetent and quite honestly are foolish. To deny the reality of evil, to deny the reality of an enemy is foolish and the end result is that innocent people get hurt. The Bible is clear that such times will happen and without hesitation I believe that such times are here. How do we handle it? How do we look ahead? The answer is the same for both questions: establish and maintain an ever growing relationship with Christ. I have come to learn over time there is no other answer that will work. Anything less is trying to do it alone and that never works.
On that night in Bethlehem the world was given the answer. A Savior was born and He brought with Him the answer that everyone is so desperately in need of: salvation. There has never been and in fact there will never be a greater gift ever given or offered. It seems that many are aimlessly seeking direction today, but yet still are unwilling to accept guidance and direction because they have determined that there is none that will work or even worse that they somehow know it all on their own. It has been made very clear to me that until one has a proper relationship with God, life will never be what it should be. I say it all the time “existing and living are two different things.” Many people today are alive, but they are not living. One of the most popular shows on television is called the Walking Dead and although zombies are not real, there are many around us who indeed fit the title of walking dead. They are simply alive in the sense of taking in oxygen, but as it pertains to living, in the sense that Jesus came to give life and it more abundantly, they are missing the boat by a long way.
This season is about love, about giving, about passion, about peace. I believe with all my heart the greatest way to show all of those things is to share Jesus with someone. I realize the world seems to reject that Message, indeed the inn still seems full, but the fact remains that an answer is being sought and we have the answer that is needed by all. Share Jesus this Christmas and may a life be changed forever.
It is a joy to be your Pastor and as we celebrate our second Christmas with you I pray that each of you have a wonderful, joyful, peaceful time of celebration all through this week. I plan on seeing as many of you as possible this Thursday for Christmas Eve candle light service and for all who cannot attend, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Thanks to everyone for the cards and gifts, they mean more than you know.
God Bless you all